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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal & School Audits

March 6, 2024

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the following local government and school audits were issued.

Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund (Suffolk County)

Town officials from all five towns (East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton, and Southold) ensured disbursements were proper and supported, and debt service payments were for legitimate Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund purposes and properly allocated. However, Town of Riverhead officials did not always record dates collections were received or deposit payments in a timely manner.

Canajoharie Volunteer Fire Department – Financial Activities (Montgomery County)

Department officials did not ensure that financial activities were properly recorded and supported. As a result, the ability to make financial decisions was hindered and officials lacked the information necessary to provide an annual report. The treasurer did not: accurately record 86 transactions (23%) totaling $33,280 or provide timely monthly reports to officials for eight of the 13 months in the audit period; or prepare bank reconciliations. Adequate cash collection controls were not established and 48 deposits totaling $16,655 were not made in a timely manner. Auditors found 248 disbursements totaling $81,595 were not audited and approved before payment, and 111 disbursements totaling $19,650 were made by debit card, circumventing the ability to be audited and approved before payment.

Bellmore Union Free School District – Payroll (Nassau County)

District officials did not always approve, support and monitor overtime. As a result, overtime expenditures exceeded budgeted overtime by $49,576 during the audit period and officials increased the risk that employees may have been paid for unnecessary overtime. Auditors reviewed 169 overtime request forms and the associated time sheets for five facilities and transportation department employees who received overtime pay totaling $78,595 and determined that 100 forms lacked the reason officials paid overtime totaling $30,291. In addition, officials paid unapproved overtime totaling $2,176.

Town of Cobleskill – Budgeting (Schoharie County)

The board did not develop realistic budgets. Budgeted appropriations were overestimated in the town-wide (TW) general and highway funds, and estimated revenues were underestimated in the town-outside-village (TOV) highway fund resulting in operating surpluses totaling $677,000. Actual expenditures were less than appropriations by an average of $89,000 (15%) and $196,000 (26%) in the TW general and highway funds, respectively and actual revenues exceeded estimated revenues by an average of $112,000 (90%) in the TOV highway fund. As a result, much of the $424,000 of fund balance the board planned to use to fund projected deficits was not used and unrestricted fund balances increased to levels between 100% and 179% of the 2023 appropriations. In addition, the town’s preliminary budgets for the three fiscal years examined did not include fund balance estimates with a breakdown by fund as required.

Chateaugay Central School District – Nonresident Homeless Student State Aid (Clinton County)

District officials did not claim state aid totaling $145,164 for nonresident homeless students during the audit period because the superintendent was not aware that the district could claim this aid. As a result, district taxpayers will not benefit from state aid totaling $62,920 because the filing deadlines have passed. The district may also lose the remaining $82,244 in state aid if officials do not properly submit claims for reimbursement by June 30, 2024. District officials did not establish policies and procedures to ensure state aid was claimed for nonresident homeless students. Officials also did not complete and maintain designation forms and submit them to the New York State Education Department.

Brushton-Moira Central School District – Tuition Billing (Franklin County)

District officials did not properly bill tuition for nonresident foster care students enrolled in the district. As a result, as of Sept. 30, 2023, officials had not billed or underbilled $40,803 of the $71,192 (57%) in tuition it was entitled to and billed and collected $12,452 in tuition it was not entitled to for the 2019-20 through 2021-22 school years. District officials also did not provide oversight of the officials who prepared the tuition bills or establish adequate procedures to ensure tuition bills were prepared, accurately calculated and issued to the school districts of origin for all eligible nonresident foster care students.

Questar III Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) – Information Technology (IT) Hardware Asset Inventory (Statewide)

As of June 30, 2023, Questar BOCES had IT assets with an original cost of $28.5 million (44,305 items) accounted for in its inventory that were either purchased for a component school district or for use at Questar BOCES. Based on the auditors’ review, Questar BOCES officials properly accounted for all 817 IT hardware assets reviewed with a purchase value of $612,386 and ensured assets declared surplus were properly disposed.